This children’s story
was introduced by Sophie van Senden
Theis, who made a connection between telling
and reading that remains with us to this day. She noted that “The
Chosen Baby is intended for parents of young children, who wish
to make the first explanation of adoption as happy as it is true.
I suggest that this little book be used by parents to supplement
their own explanation to their children of the facts of adoption.”
The story illustrates both continuity and
change in the history of adoption. It emphasized that adoptees were
special because they were selected, an enduring theme in adoption
literature. Yet it also described practices—such as allowing
adoptive parents to make specific choices from among a number of
waiting children—that fell out of favor in later years.
Once upon a time in a large city lived a Man and his Wife. They
were happily married for many years. Their one trouble was that
they had no babies of their own.
One day they said to each other: “Let us adopt a baby and
bring him up as our own.” So the next day they called up a
Home which helps people to adopt babies, and babies to adopt parents,
and said: “We wish so much to find a baby who would like to
have a mother and father and who could be our own. Will you help
us find one?”
The Lady at the Home said: “This will be difficult because
so many people wish to adopt babies and are waiting for them, but
come and see me anyhow.”
So the Man and his Wife went to the Home and said to the Lady:
“We wish so much to choose a baby. We want to have a lovely,
healthy baby boy.” The Lady at the Home asked them many questions
and said: “I will try very hard to find a lovely baby boy,
but you must wait for a long time.”
A little later another Lady from the Home came and looked over
the house were the Man and his Wife lived to make sure that the
Chosen Baby would live in a light, clean home.
Many months went by and the Man and his Wife would say to each
other: “I wonder when our baby will be coming.” And
the Wife would call up the Lady at the Home and say: “We are
still waiting for our baby. Please don’t forget about us.”
And she would be told not to worry, for the baby was sure to come
Then suddenly one day the Lady at the Home called up and said:
“We have three fine babies for you to choose from. Will you
both come and see them?” So the very next day the Man and
his Wife, feeling very excited, hurried to the Home. The Lady told
them all about the babies.
The first baby was a little boy with blue eyes and curly blond
hair. He laughed and played with a rattle. The Man and his Wife
watched the baby, then they shook their heads and said: “This
is a beautiful child, but we know it is not our baby.” And
they were taken to see the next.
And there asleep in the crib lay a lovely, rosy, fat baby boy.
He opened is big brown eyes and smiled. The Wife picked him up and
sat him on her lap. The baby gurgled, and the Man and his Wife said:
“This is our Chosen Baby. We don’t have to look any
further. We will have everything ready for him by to-morrow, and
would like to take him home then.”
So that day the Wife went to a shop and bought a crib and a carriage
and bottles, and all the clothes and things that babies need.
And the very next morning the Wife went to fetch the baby, and
brought the baby home and put him in his crib, and fed him milk
and cereal and orange juice. A nice, fat Nannie helped to look after
“We must find a good name for our baby,” the Man and
his Wife said to each other. So they decided to call his name Peter,
after his uncle. After a few days all of Peter’s new uncles
and aunts, and his grandfather and grandmother came to see him,
and they thought he was a lovely baby. . . .